The Colorado Springs Winter Fire Mitigation Crew began 35 weeks of work this winter which will span three seasons as part of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Risk Reduction Program whose purpose is to protect property in the wildland-urban interface. Mile High Youth Corps Colorado Springs has been contracted to work in three areas for this project: Red Rock Canyon, Section 16 and Ute Valley Park.
The season came to an end last week and the project sponsor is thrilled with the progress the crew has made.
Mile High Youth Corps has done an excellent job following the forest prescription for this area and I’m excited to get them back on this project in the spring.
-Dennis Will, Staff Forester, City of Colorado Springs
This is the first winter crew for MHYC and as far as we are aware the only winter crew in the state. This winter the crew worked through cold weather, rain and snow and according to crew leader Daniel Neiman all the while maintained a positive attitude. They completed fire mitigation on Section 16, a popular hiking destination in the Colorado Springs area, and removed all Siberian Elm from the treatment area in Red Rock Open Space. 700 cubic yards of Siberian Elm was chipped after removal and transported to Colorado Springs Utilities to be used to produce bio fuel. The crew also removed oak stand clusters, took out dead and downed trees and removed tangled barbed wire fencing. Our Corpsmembers are excited to have made history as MHYC’s first ever winter crew!
Posted in Colorado Springs Field Office | Tagged Colorado Springs, Conservation, Fire Mitigation, land conservation, Mile High Youth Corps | Leave a Comment »
MHYC hosted a career panel, last Friday, for its YouthBuild Corpsmembers. Industries ranged from culinary arts and hospitality to mechanical engineering (a full list of participants is included below). The purpose of the discussion was to not only expose Corpsmembers to new potential careers, but to hear what brought the panelists to their current profession.
The panel also served as an opportunity to learn more about what employers are looking for. Corpsmembers asked a variety of questions about the professional’s personal stories and how one can train to specialize in their field. Panelists also directed questions toward Corpsmembers to learn more about them.
Jason Vaughn, Program Coordinator for College and Careers at MHYC, explained, “This panel is not only beneficial for our crew. It also exposes panelists to Corpsmembers and opens the door for more opportunities.”
Thank you to everyone involved for facilitating an engaging discussion!
List of participants
• Mike Smart – Mtech Mechanical Technologies
• Alexandra Lee – Sage Hospitality
• Izzy Salazar – Culinary/chef
• James Gomez – Colorado Media School/Ohio Center for Broadcasting
• Molly Flynn – AmeriCorps NCCC
Posted in Career Readiness, Uncategorized, YouthBuild | Tagged Career, Career Readiness Training, community, Denver, Mile High Youth Corps, youth jobs, YouthBuild | Leave a Comment »
Mile High Youth Corps is proud to recognize two of our Corpsmembers who were selected for this year’s Corpsmember of the Year Award! This past Monday February 3rd, Kelsey Bowers of Denver and Hope Radford of Colorado Springs, along with eight other Corpsmember from around the state, were honored at the Colorado Youth Corps Association Annual Youth Corps Awards Ceremony. Corpsmembers are nominated by their peers and MHYC staff for this designation.
Kelsey started with MHYC in August 2012 as a Water Conservation Corpsmember. Kelsey has shown incredible growth over her year of service. She has become an exceptional leader while also overcoming significant internal and external challenges. Kelsey also has proved to be an inspiration to her crew and staff by overcoming an unfathomable personal tragedy, losing her father in a sudden accident. However, she continued to work through grief with the same compassion and positivity, motivated by her commitment to personal growth and her desire to provide for her son.
Kelsey has been a profound testament to the will of the human spirit. She is a model and an inspiration for her peers and for the staff that have worked with her. We are happy to have Kelsey return this year with Mile High Youth Corps as an Assistant Crew Leader on the Water Conservation Crew. After her term of service, she plans to use her education awards on college, to learn to become an EMT.
Hope Radford came to Mile High Youth Corps the summer she graduated from high school in 2012 and came back to continue her service during the summer session of 2013 after her first year at the University of Montana where she majors in Resource Conservation. Hope has been nominated as our Corpsmember of the Year for one simple reason, she deserves it. Hope is an incredibly hard worker that leads by example. She consistently volunteers for new tasks and is willing to sacrifice for the good of her team and the community.
Four weeks after the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire was extinguished our Corps was contacted by the National Forest Service Burn Area Emergency Response Team to see if we might have a crew available to begin restoring the beloved Waldo Canyon Trail. Although the Summer of Service term was over, Hope and a handful of others canceled their summer vacations before returning to school and volunteered for the project. Hope has worked on extended wildfire restoration projects in both the Hayman and the Waldo Canyon burn areas.
When asked to reflect on her term of service Hope had this to say,
It is extremely difficult to put into words what Mile High Youth Corps has meant for me. In my years with MHYC, I have grown tremendously as an individual, met some of the most inspirational people in my life, and served my community. MHYC has given me the opportunity to strengthen my body, my teamwork abilities, and my leadership skills. In those many weeks in the back country, I learned so much about myself and about working with others who are very different than me. My crew members and leaders have become some of my closest friends and most influential examples in my life. MHYC has also been an important way for me to contribute to the community. While I have met amazing people and had the time of my life, I have been creating trails and restoring forests so others can do the same.
Congratulations to Kelsey and Hope! You are both truly an inspiration and exemplify the mission of Mile High Youth Corps!
Posted in Colorado Springs Field Office, Corpsmember Spotlight, Water Conservation | Tagged Colorado Springs, Corpsmembers, CYCA, Denver, Mile High Youth Corps, Water Conservation | Leave a Comment »
This November, we made youth corps history when we implemented a Winter Fire Mitigation Crew. This project will provide significant wildfire protection in the Red Rocks Canyon, Section 16 trail head and Ute Valley Park for 1,337 homes and 674 acres within the Pikes Peak Urban-Wildfire Interface. Now into December, the winter crew is off and running, with 6 new and 5 returning Corpsmembers. In just 2 weeks they have already removed 10.5 acres of Siberian Elm. After removal, the elms are then chipped up and transported to Colorado Springs Utilities, where they are used to produce bio fuel. The team averages 18 cubic yards of material per day! The crew is doing well with only two snow days so far – keep your fingers crossed! We are not aware of any other corps in the state that works during this season, and everyone is excited to extend MHYC’s impact into the winter months!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged MHYC, Winter Crew | Leave a Comment »
Winter graduation is fast approaching! With only four weeks left of the term, Katie Helm, an AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation (ACLC) Corpsmember, takes a look back at her 10 months with MHYC.
Within the past ten months I have met the most inspiring people, made a huge difference in my community and experienced personal growth. We began last winter. My crew and I spent our days educating the public on water and energy saving measures by replacing inefficient lights, aerators and toilets with high-efficiency ones. During the summer I worked ten hour days, in 100 degree weather, with 11 extraordinary people alongside me. Together, we built muscle cutting down invasive trees, built character hauling branches through water and up slopes, and built friendships during those sweet lunch breaks in the middle of the day. There is a bond that can only be made after experiencing these challenges together.
As an ACLC, we were encouraged to recognize our strengths, identify and improve upon our weaknesses, and continue to set new goals for ourselves to accomplish throughout the season. My year at Mile High has definitely been a turning point for me. It is beyond rewarding to see the product of all your hard work at the end of a project. This term of service has helped me to determine my career path, introduced me to the resources I need to achieve my goals and the right people to advise me. I can’t think of a better way to have spent the past year.
Katie (left) and two other ACLCs, Jordan and Patrick, take a photo break during a summer land conservation project.
Interested in being an ACLC? MHYC is now hiring for 2014! Read the full position description and apply here.
Posted in ACLC, AmeriCorps, Corpsmember Spotlight, Green Jobs, Uncategorized | Tagged ACLC, AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation, Conservation, Corpsmembers, Denver, Green Jobs | 1 Comment »
My name is Kelly, and since last November, I’ve been the Programs VISTA at Mile High Youth Corps. I’ve also secretly been the editor of this blog. You’re welcome.
When I started this position, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d just finished up two years with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), so I had a pretty good handle on just what AmeriCorps service was like. I could recite the AmeriCorps pledge and tell you all about the 4000 hours of community service I’d completed. Becoming a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America), however, presented a whole new set of challenges.
VISTAs work to eradicate poverty throughout the United States by building the capacity of non-profits, thereby allowing them to reach out to and help more people. Instead of the hands-on service I was used to, I was now going to be working in an office behind the scenes. VISTAs also earn a poverty-level stipend and are not allowed to hold another job so that they can better understand the people they are trying to serve.
Most of my friends thought I was crazy (“You’re going to deliberately live in poverty? Like, on purpose?”), but I wanted this opportunity. I really believed in Mile High Youth Corps’ mission—to help youth make a difference in themselves and their community through meaningful service opportunities and educational experiences—and I wanted to support it.
For the past year, I’ve done just that. I’ve prepared curriculum and materials to help prepare Corpsmembers for when they finish their terms at MHYC, created service learning to show them the importance of their actions, supported the functions of the on-site food pantry, helped with the all-corps service days—and more. I am grateful for the time I spent working with the wonderful and dedicated staff and Corpsmembers.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be part of a corps. The dictionary says that a corps is “a band of people working together,” which pretty much sounds like the most boring definition in the entire world—until you see it in action. People coming together to accomplish something for the greater good, dedicating themselves to improving both their neighbors’ lives as well as their own, creating a better world: that is what MHYC is. Being a part of that for the past year has been a real honor. I can only hope my next job is as cool.
Thanks, MHYC. It’s been a blast.
I’m pretty adept at hiding from photos, but this is totally my back.
Posted in AmeriCorps, Service Story, Uncategorized, VISTA | Tagged AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, MHYC, Mile High Youth Corps | Leave a Comment »
Mile High Youth Corps’ annual Halloween party, dubbed ‘Boo-Yah!’, was a spook-tacular success! Corpsmembers and staff alike dressed up and competed in Halloween themed activities. Pumpkin carving, Halloween trivia, relay games, and candy were all on the menu. The event culminated in a costume contest, with everyone looking terrifyingly good. A big thank you to all staff and Corpsmembers who participated, and just like a horror movie villain, Boo-Yah! will return next year! For more photos, check out our Facebook page!
Posted in Leadership Council, MHYC Events, Uncategorized | Tagged Corpsmembers, Denver, Leadership Council, MHYC, Mile High Youth Corps, youth, Youth Corps | Leave a Comment »